Tuesday, 9 February 2016, 08:39pm
Sri Lanka ease to five-wicket victory against India
The unexpectedly convincing victory in Pune was set up by Sri Lanka's inexperienced seam attack, who took full advantage of a green surface to bowl out India for a disappointing 101.
Debutant Kasun Rajitha and Dasun Shanaka, making only his second appearance, took three wickets apiece while Dushmantha Chameera also caught the eye with two for 14.
Captain Dinesh Chandimal's run-a-ball 35 then set up the victory chase before some powerful blows from Milinda Siriwardana saw Sri Lanka over the line with two overs to spare.
It made for a winning start for Graham Ford in his second stint as Sri Lanka coach and gave India some areas for concern ahead of the upcoming tournament.
The match began badly for the hosts, who had also lost the toss, as Rajitha made a dream start to his international career by claiming two wickets in the first over.
Rohit Sharma chipped tamely to mid-off off the second ball and Ajinkya Rahane followed four balls later as a leading edge offered a straightforward return catch to Rajintha.
Shikhar Dhawan tried to steady the innings but then holed out in the deep off Rajintha (three for 29) attempting to accelerate and Shanaka (three for 16) made further inroads as he removed Suresh Raina's leg stump after a solid 20.
A succession of Indian batsmen then fell to poor shots, including the dangerous Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, before a determined 31 from 24 balls from Ravichandran Ashwin gave the hosts some hope.
Ashish Nehra further lifted the home crowd by dismissing both Sri Lanka openers Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka but Chandimal was dropped by Rahane at slip.
It was a tough chance but it proved costly as Chandimal's attacking effort, combined with 25 from Chamara Kapugedera, put Sri Lanka in charge.
Neither could complete the job but Siriwardana finished it in style with a six and a four off Jasprit Bumrah.
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Captain Dinesh Chandimal helped Sri Lanka to T20 victory in India